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The Best Xmas Turkey?

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
66 replies 7K views
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  • arkonite_babearkonite_babe Forumite
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    HOLsale wrote:
    DO NOT cook stuffing with meat in it inside the bird unless you want food poisoning

    Sorry but I have to disagree here, both my Mum my Gran and I all cook our sausagemeat stuffing in this way. Gran and Mum have been doing this for over 30 years and no one has ever suffered food poisoning. We just ensure that the stuffing comes out of the bird at the end of cooking and goes in a covered dish in the oven again to finish off.

    That's my two pennies!! ;)
  • Tim_LTim_L Forumite
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    A quick plug for THE best turkeys available anywhere: Kelly Bronze from Five Ashes in Sussex. They are absolutely stunningly good, and you will never buy a frozen supermarket one again once you have tried one. I've always been spoiled for turkeys, as I was brought up near a farm that raised its own for a few neighbours and friends - these were tremendous but Kelly Bronze beat them with room to spare. They are not cheap, but worth every penny.

    Most people chronically overcook turkey, often in a kind of tinfoil sauna, I think from fear that it will be undercooked. The result is that the juices escape and the meat is dry and fluffy (and difficult to carve because it falls to pieces) rather than succulent.

    This also has a lot to do with the size of birds bought, which are often much too large and take a great deal of cooking. I buy the smallest Kelly Bronze I can get, usually about 6Kg I think, and it's still easily enough for 8 people. Cooked strictly to the instructions and rested for 40 minutes, you end up with firm juicy breast meat which is still moist for days afterwards. Resting meat is something that also terrifies people, but there is enough heat in a turkey to easily keep it piping hot until mealtime, and the results are much better. Actually this resting time allows you to be much more relaxed about getting everything ready at the appointed hour, as you can make the gravy and roast the spuds during this time, with plenty of time for the veg.

    One old style treat after Christmas is to keep most of the dripping in a jug in the fridge - absolutely the best thing on hot toast that there is.

    Oh, one other thing too for people like me who don't like boiled sprouts. These are delicious small, parboiled then fried in butter with chopped bacon and the turkey liver cleaned carefully and diced (it's not good in giblet gravy in my experience, often being a little bitter).
  • nearlyrichnearlyrich Forumite
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    I buy a fresh turkey or the breast of a fresh turkey depends on whether we want legs LOL... just cook it long and slow, the smell nearly makes my veggie brother a carnivore when he calls on Christmas eve.

    I use an old family recipe for sage and onion stuffing, breadcrumbs lots of softened onions and fresh sage, bind with an egg, dot with butter and cook in a low oven ( I feel hungry thinking about it).
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  • jack92jack92 Forumite
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    I normally put a couple of halved lemons in the cavity of the turkey before roasting, gives the meat a lovely flavour. My neighbour used to do the same but with onions instead.

    Nicola
  • SarahsaverSarahsaver Forumite
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    shove a lemon or an apple up its **** and it will be moist and juicy. Cover the top to stop it drying out. Tin foil will do, forget delia and her butter soaked muslin, life's too short! Bacon is a good lubricating covering as well;) but i wouldn't put it on at the start else the bacon wil dry out.
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  • bobsa1bobsa1 Forumite
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    Just saw a this morning and Ferns husband, the chef, cooked turkey on a bed of veg. Poured half a bottle of wine, some hot water and a stock cube into the tray, brought to boil, covered in foil and cooked for a couple of hours. Removed foil, poured off juices to make gravy and basted with butter to brown.

    It looked lovely.
  • HOLsaleHOLsale Forumite
    1.2K posts
    i promised to tell you how to make my famous cornbread stuffing so here goes

    first you make the cornbread

    Amish Corn Bread

    1 c. sifted flour
    1/4 c. sugar
    1 tbsp. baking powder
    3/4 tsp. salt
    1 c. yellow cornmeal (polenta is fine)
    1 egg, well beaten
    1 c. milk
    5 tbsp. melted butter or bacon grease

    Sift first 4 ingredients. Mix in cornmeal. Blend egg, milk, shortening until mixed. Add to dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Use greased (bottom only) 8x8x2 pan. Bake 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

    i actually make this in my cast iron skillet and i do a double batch because we love it so much. a double batch will fill a large cast iron skillet nicely. the other tip for moist cornbread is to put another skillet half full of water on the bottom shelf, makes the best cornbread ever!

    now that you've made the cornbread let it cool (though you should probably 'test' it while it's warm, cut a pie slice slice the pie slice in half as if you're making a sandwich then butter heavily mmmmmmmmmm heaven¬)

    ok while the cornbread is cooling you should finely chop some onion and celery. for a double batch of cornbread i'd use 2 large onions and 4-5 stalks celery. you'll need sage as well, i like a lot but you can add as you see fit.

    you may also wish to add some chestnuts though i prefer it without.

    when it's all chopped and the cornbread is cool crumble the cornbread into small pieces in a large bowl. add enough chicken stock to moisten and make it sticky. add in your onion and celery mix well, add sage and mix well. give it a taste... it may need salt and you can add a touch of garlic granules if you like.

    once that's done you can stuff it inside the cavity of the bird if you want. it's ok because it's already all cooked and has no meat BUT you MUST cook the bird longer to allow it to cook properly because the juices will run inside it, basically weigh the bird stuffed then cook it according to that weight. also cook the bird breast side down for all but the last half hour as that makes it nice and juicy despite a longer cooking time

    if you don't want to stuff the bird with it you can just cook it in the oven for approx half hour at about 180C til it's warmed through and a bit crunchy on top bon appetit! :p
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  • beachbethbeachbeth Forumite
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    Tim_L wrote:
    Most people chronically overcook turkey, often in a kind of tinfoil sauna, I think from fear that it will be undercooked. The result is that the juices escape and the meat is dry and fluffy (and difficult to carve because it falls to pieces) rather than succulent.

    I agree. It is true that the longer you cook your turkey the drier it will be. I would be horrified if my husband (who is in charge of the Christmas dinner each year and does it brilliantly) cooked the turkey slowly overnight! It would be as dry as a bone!

    We cook our turkey in half the time other people do by following the advice of a tv chef (I think it was Anthony Worrall Thomson). What you do is, instead of cooking it lying on its breast or the other way up, you lie the turkey on its side (no foil on it). This can be difficult to do and we have to stick forks into it to hold it into place! Because only a small part of the turkey is touching the bottom of the tin it cookes really quickly. (18lb in about 2 hours!)

    Believe me, no one is more paranoid than me about salmonella and we carefully check it over for blood each year when it comes out of the oven. We then sit it on the work top, cover with foil and it has a nice rest for an hour or so and is still piping hot when we carve it. Because it has been cooked for a shorter time it is absolutely succulent!
  • beachbethbeachbeth Forumite
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    PS We don't stuff it as you would have to cook for longer. We cook the stuffing separately.
  • Mmmmmmm..........mouth watering.........

    As all of us prefer breast meat I've ordered a turkey crown - there's only 4 of us so the butcher said he'd get a small one - not sure of the size yet.

    Any tips for this? Really want it to be perfect. Hubby doesn't 'like' roast dinners (despite loving all the components separately :confused: ) so I'm trying to slowly 'wean' him :D His main fear is the meat will be dry.

    Should I stuff it? (if so where? :o ) Do I put stuff under/on the skin? Does it need to be cooked upside down? How long for? (gas mark?) :confused: Presumably it's quicker than a full turkey?

    I've got a recipe for a spicy glaze, but this is for a boned and rolled joint and I'm not sure how it differs?

    As you can see, I've not done this before! :o
    New year, no debt! Debt free date - 02/01/07 :j :j :j :D
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